A Different Day Yesterday

Kate has been unusually cheerful the past two weeks. Yesterday was different. It’s not that she was in a bad mood. She just wasn’t especially cheerful. Getting her up earlier than usual may have had something to do with that. On the other hand, it may have been one of those things that we can never explain.

We had a busy day that started with my appointment for labs prior to seeing my doctor next week. Until the past year, I have always had the earliest appointment I could get. Since Kate sleeps later than she used to, I have changed to 11:00. That is still early for Kate, but I am eager to eat as soon as I am up. I woke Kate at 9:15 in order to give her time to get ready without rushing too much. It was one of those days when she didn’t want to get up. She told me to go on without her. I told her I didn’t want to leave her alone. I apologized for getting her up and explained the reason. She still didn’t get up. I asked her to do it for me. She agreed and did so well getting ready that we had time for a quick stop for a muffin at a Panera not too far from my doctor’s office.

From the doctor’s office we went directly to lunch with one of our associate pastors. We had a nice time, but Kate was not very talkative and cheerful. She actually snapped at me as I offered my hand to assist her in getting up as we were leaving. She had a hangnail on her left thumb and thought I was going to grab it. It was a nice lunch, but Kate wasn’t at her best.

We had a couple of hours before taking her for a massage. She rested at home most of that time but got up easily when I told her it was time to go. The past couple of times she has said she didn’t want to get a massage. This time she didn’t say a word. She went happily.

Two weeks ago when she had her last massage, I talked with one of the staff in the front office. I told them I thought we might be coming to the end of her massages. I told them I would like to try at least once more. We talked again this time. Kate had been so accepting that time, I thought it would be good to try again. I scheduled yesterday’s appointment. When I went back to pick her up, I waited a few minutes. Then the woman who gives her the massage came out and told me that they had finished, and she had left Kate to get dressed. When she went back, Kate was lying down on the table and had not dressed. I went back and helped her. She was confused. I don’t think she realized that she was supposed to get dressed. When she was ready, we walked back to the front desk where I discreetly cancelled the next appointment. I don’t plan to schedule any more.

The highlight of the day came when we returned home. Kate noticed the photo of her and her brother on the cover of her “Big Sister” album and said, “I just love that picture.” She commented on the smiles of the two children. I said, “Do you know who they are?” She did. I asked if she would like to look through the book. For the next hour we went through most, but not all, of it. She expressed more enthusiasm than she had all day.

I continue to find mystery in the way her brain works and doesn’t work. As we looked at pictures of her family, she sometimes recognized her mother, father, and brother. Other times, she had no idea who they were. Often she looked at two pictures of her father that were side by side on the same page. She asked, “Who is he?” I told her, and she asked, “What’s his name?” I told her. Then she looked at the other picture and asked the identical questions. We went through the book for an hour repeating these questions and answers. Of course, some of the confusion involves the fact that the way people look changes significantly over time, but the big problem is Alzheimer’s. I’m just glad she had that hour to really enjoy herself.

Last night we went to Casa Bella for jazz night. That is always a hit. She enjoyed it, but the experience wasn’t as good as usual. We always sit with the same couple. Often no one else joins us. If so, it’s just one other couple. Last night we were at a table with seven other people three of whom we hadn’t met before. This made conversation a bit more challenging. Kate was quieter than usual. She enjoyed the music, but I am sure she was uncomfortable in the larger group.

Looking back, it wasn’t a bad day at all. It just wasn’t like the ones we have had recently. Most days are very good. I’m sure we will have many more in the days ahead.

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